Nevada races headline Mountain West midterms
Heading into Election Day, a handful of races across the Mountain West are attracting national attention.
Governors in Idaho, Wyoming and Colorado are likely to keep their positions, while recent polling indicates Nevada’s incumbent, Steve Sisolak, could be in danger.
New Mexico’s race is also tight, as Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has a six percentage point lead on Republican challenger Mark Ronchetti.
But all eyes are on Nevada's Senate race, potentially the most consequential in the country. It's a toss-up between Republican challenger Adam Laxalt and Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, a Democrat.
“Depending on how the other close Senate races go tomorrow, it could determine the Senate majority, whether it stays with the Democrats or against the Republicans,” said Jeremy Gellman, an associate professor of political science at the University of Nevada Reno.
He said the "razor-thin" race could come down to the one-third of voters who are not registered with a party.
“The margin of those independent voters, one way or another by a percentage point or two, is going to turn this election for some of the Democrats or Republicans,” Gellman said.
He emphasized that we won't likely know the results by the end of Tuesday – and maybe not by the end of the week – since it's Nevada's first midterm with universal mail-in voting.
“They're doing their job and counting the ballots,” Gellman said. “And that's not unusual. That's an expected outcome when you have mail in balloting.”
Arizona's Senate race could also determine control of the U.S. Senate. Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly is in a neck-and-neck race with Republican challenger Blake Masters.
This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Nevada Public Radio, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.